From My Seat: Norwich (H)

There was a difference in the mood of fans. It was as though a weight had been lifted and replaced by hope and expectation. The chat was upbeat as we considered when things may start moving. I can only hope our club makes the right moves.

Ken Buckley 15/05/2016 32comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 3 - 0 Norwich City

Last home game of the season and after a week of turmoil in the club with disgruntled fans organising protests and mayhem for our final game, the club did the kindest thing possible and relieved our former manager of his duties after another calamitous game and loss away at Sunderland last Wednesday. Not only was the manager relieved of his duties along with the awards evening planned for fateful Thursday but a temporary management team was named and put in place ready for today’s fixture. Unsworth was aided by Royle, Ebrell and Ferguson.

We made our way to the Room of Nonsense and as it filled it became clear that there was a change of mood by the fans. Hope replaced doom and a debate took place re who should be our next manager with a mix of Koeman, DeBoer, Mourinho and Rafa. I was surprised at the number favouring Rafa but as our mate Alan said the club and fans need to concentrate on getting us the best possible and not be swayed by petty squabbles that took place a decade ago. He thought it would reinforce the small club jibe. We will see.

I have to say I have no idea who we might get but I hope that whoever is charged with appointing a new manager is clear in his thought train of what this club wants and by when, and if a credible applicant can meet the criteria then we will still need an element of luck that all concerned can be galvanised by the appointment. It seems easy to say we will get a new manager but more often than not things just don’t work out. I wish our search team the Wisdom of Solomon and then Watch. See and Hope.

The walk up was sunny with clear blue skies but typical of our weather it was a cold wind. The atmosphere was full of wonderment and expectation as fans headed for the ‘Old Lady’. We had demanded change and it came about and today we somehow knew it would be a better day at the office. The omens were good and bad. The fat van was doing well and the old large van was back after almost a season missing – a good sign! But then for the first time this season the hat, scarf and badge stand was missing – a bad sign! The Blue Dragon had a queue, the programme seller’s raucous cries merged with the cacophony of sound from the fan zone and Goodison Road was awash with fans intent on roaring our team that included three promising youngsters with two more on the bench. This bold selection had met with universal approval and a win to replace the gut wrenching feel of defeat was anticipated.

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We won the toss and Norwich kicked off with the rookie Pennington at right back, eighteen year old Dowell and seventeen year old Davies in from the start there was a welcome youthfulness to the team. Right away both Dowell and Davies were conspicuous by their determination and fleet of foot as well as looking the part and far from overawed.

Around 10 minutes in and Lukaku, who hadn’t netted for nine games now, was played in by a superb ball from Barry and with goal in our throats he hit it tamely and our ex-keeper Ruddy saved and as the ball was put back into the mixer both players did better as Lukaku caught good and true but Ruddy flying to his right pushed the ball away.

The game had a bit of ebb and flow to it now and it was noticeable we defending with a tenacity and a hoof when required in contrast to that worrying keep ball in our own area. No doubt about it we as speccy’s felt more secure. The heart stayed out of the mouth more. McCarthy was looking more like his old self and covering acres as was Tom Davies and both seemed to benefit from each other. Then on twenty minutes Dowell, who had already showed some neat touches and positive running, went passed two Norwich men and played a ball to meet up with McCarthy’s surge and from some 20-plus yards he hit a screamer into the net. Oh Joy. The fans delighted yet the players seemed lukewarm in their celebration. I have no idea why.

The first goal is usually important but in our case this season we seem to have been undone soon after scoring so it was welcoming to see us keep our foot on the gas and look capable of holding the lead at the back and the midfield trying to create. In this mode we saw Lukaku at last to take a ball in and get his touch right and play in his countryman Mirallas who came in and shot and only troubled the side netting, but with some parts of the ground thinking he had scored. Sadly on the half hour mark Pennington succumbed to the curse of the Everton ‘Hammy’ and was replaced by another youngster Jonjoe Kenny

Norwich came back into it now and Naismith caused a couple of flutters with his nonstop efforts but we held firm and defended to a standard that keeps clean sheets, much to the fans' delight. There were blocks from all parts of players' anatomy along with well-timed tackles and good anticipation of danger. Barry was a master at that and young Davies was looking to emulate him.

The clock was ticking toward the break. Just before the board went up Baines got down the flank and crossed aiming for the head of Lukaku who was dropped to the deck and referee Mason pointed to the spot. Now as one all four sides of the ground roared Baines – Baines – Baines. Fair play to Lukaku he walked away and no one else was going to challenge the will of the crowd. Baines stepped up, the net bulged and now the celebrations were at fever pitch. Oh, if only Bainsey could have taken at Wembley. I think that is converted pen number 17 out of 18 attempts. Makes you think it might be best to let him take them when they arise.

H/T 2-0

Speedo Mick was named ‘Fan of the Year’ and Tony Bellew was introduced in Everton’s new shirt to promote his fight.

Second half and we had a two goal lead but with the season we have had then the thought of being pegged back is real but we seemed determined with the back four looking as though they were paying attention. Anything that looked dangerous was cleared forthwith up field and if time permitted playing out from the back and through midfield was accomplished to good applause.

From such a move just about 5 minutes in, Dowell won the ball and fed the impressive Davies who moved the ball neatly on to McCarthy who held the ball as Kenny roared past him which gave McCarthy the time to get a low cross in that somehow found its way to the far post where the revitalised Mirallas was in the right place to poach a goal with a simple side foot effort. He got a good reception for that but at three nil up and the way we were playing we sensed a stroll in the park rather than a backs to the wall deep defending amid rising blood pressure.

We may not be used to this sort of stuff but hell we will take it. It crossed my mind that if David and Joe and the boys can get us playing like this after just two days why were we in such a mess over two and a bit seasons under our previous manager. Strange game at times this footy.

Coming up to the hour mark we had Baines down with a head injury but it was McCarthy who came off to be replaced by Lennon. There was no sign of injury so maybe just rotation. Lennon was his usual busy self but it was Davies who was really catching the eye with his boundless energy and at times superb positioning and ball winning to set up moves. At just 17... Wow! Dowell and Kenny were certainly holding their own too so whoever gets the manager’s job will have some fine young talent already here and raring to go and by the looks of it players who can be trusted.

Davies was ever ready to take free kicks and shared duties with Baines when a right footer was the better option and Baines had no qualms about that arrangement. We did get a free kick in a central position that Baines may have wished he had let Davies take as his effort bent the wrong way and was wide by some distance. The tempo of our youngsters was now rubbing off on Lukaku, who wasn’t that old himself, was running more and looking lively and hungry for the ball but when it was fired up to him his control let him down as did his habit of being called for coming back from an offside position. Whether he stays or goes one manager will have some work to do on him regarding that side of his game.

Norwich had a good spell which we defended quite well compared with some games this season. Howard was alert and made a couple of good stops at his near post and commanded his area well executing catches and punches. Jags and Stones were playing as a pair better than of late plus Stones seemed to make a hoof clearance when necessary rather than try to play out every time. He has learned a trick or two from Jags, as demonstrated when the merest of nudges ensured that Jerome headed over from a cross when danger beckoned.

Barkley replaced Dowell with 20 to go and the youngster was given a tremendous reception as he left the pitch. That will do his confidence no harm at all. Barkley was straight into the play and a move between him and Lennon got him into the box but he held on too long and that chance went. Then he had one of his surging runs that got him into the area but he was bumped and went to ground but somehow sprang back up and went to shoot as he was bumped again denying him any power in the shot which Ruddy gathered. The crowd liked that attempt.

We had a Baines dash forward but he was unceremoniously felled to the green sward. He and Mirallas stood over the ball and plotted. The whistle went – Baines started his run – Mirallas set off at great speed to get behind their defence and connect with the ball played through by Baines—unfortunately Baines fell over as he ran up much to the delight if those assembled. Back to the drawing board and a regulation kick took place which came to nought but Baines trotted back to his position with a big grin on his face.

The game was then played out by both teams in keep ball fashion with the Norwich fans providing the ole’s for both teams. Final whistle and a home win at last.

M.o.t.M. - Tom Davies

We then had an emotional Tim Howard on the pitch and on the mike saying his good byes. He has created an Everton record by playing 352 premier league appearances. He had walked through a guard of honour provided by his team mates accompanied by the stars and stripes. From the microphone he said he has loved the place since he came here in 2006. He said it was a privilege to play for this amazing club and although he is leaving tomorrow this will always be my home. He got another standing ovation.

Well that’s it another season over and as disappointing as the previous one. Yet today there was a difference in the mood of fans. It was as though a weight had been lifted and replaced by hope and expectation. The chat was upbeat as we considered when things may start moving. I can only hope our club makes the right moves. I hope that my most depressing moment of the season was when coming off the ground after the West Ham game was to overhear a youngster say ‘Dad, why do we always have to come to watch Everton lose’ won’t be repeated. That was sad.

Still we have the Euros to look forward to plus all the rumours of what is happening down Goodison way. Don’t believe anything until someone waves a shirt or scarf to save disappointment.

It'll soon be August when can meet again and off the roller coaster goes. I must put a tenner on us to win the league. Have a great summer break


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Reader Comments (32)

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Michael Coville
1 Posted 16/05/2016 at 01:46:26
Thanks Ken, always enjoy your reports and since I live in the USA now it is great to get the opinion of someone who is at the game rather than just seeing it on the TV.

It was great to see the youngsters play and what a talent Davies is, can't believe he is only 17. I believe he is from West Derby, I was born and raised in Arlescourt Road which is off Leyfield Road. Glad to see a local youngster doing so well. Have a great summer Ken and keep up the good work.
Derek Thomas
2 Posted 16/05/2016 at 02:26:59
Well done again Ken for your seasons efforts.

We all saw the smiles yesterday, so that 's one problem solved. Select the new Boss carefully, then grow, buy and select the best fittest skilful players you can. Get them playing with a that smile and there's most of the job sorted.

Not a lot if you say it quick, I wonder if the previous guy just couldn't wouldn't see it for the bullshit?

Dave Lynch
3 Posted 16/05/2016 at 03:52:09
You're right about the "weight off your shoulders" analogy Ken.

When it was revealed he was sacked I breathed an enormous sigh of relief. It now feels like a new adventure, like you felt as a kid when you go on holiday with your mam and dad.

Have a great summer mate and see you at the Old Lady in August when the next installment of Everton begins.

Cue Dick Barton music......

Anto Byrne
4 Posted 16/05/2016 at 04:13:15
It looks like we have our backroom team sorted. We played like the Everton of old with a bit of swagger and a smile.

A top manager should be able to keep the likes of Stones and Lukaku but if not so be it. Looks like we have some real talent at the club so who ever gets the gig should be given time to mould the team into a team worthy of Everton FC.

Derek Turner
5 Posted 16/05/2016 at 05:24:19
First time in a long time that I have wanted to and enjoyed reading the match reports. I think my GP will be releived and my family will come out from behind the sofa. Great report again Ken for those who can't be there.
Laurie Hartley
6 Posted 16/05/2016 at 05:38:22
Thanks from Oz Ken. Your report had me smiling as I read through it. It doesn't take that much to make us happy does it ?

Up the Blues

Christopher Dover
7 Posted 16/05/2016 at 06:07:39
Your usual excellent repot Ken one I always look for.
The atmosphere was brilliant and a pleasure to be at the game. Like you now looking that the right appointment made, someone who can bring the fun and results back to GP.
Christopher Timmins
8 Posted 16/05/2016 at 06:48:49
Ken, thanks for all your reports during the season, you were one of the few highlights in another wise disappointing season.
Jim Bennings
9 Posted 16/05/2016 at 07:56:44
Well we did the job we had to to do, and at least left behind what turned out to be a very turbulent season with a win.

It all started so promisingly too in the first month didn't it?

It's now though that the hard work really starts with the managerial appointment arguably the most important appointment we have had to make in many years.

We can't get too carried away by yesterday, it was a good win against a very poor team.

The young lads did well, Davies for me stood out far more than Dowell, I was very impressed by Davies who put in more tackles in one half than Barkley has all season.
Also have to say it's been criminal how sparingly Kevin Mirallas has been used this term (Kone ahead of him, really Roberto??).

But as I say the hard work starts now, the challenge to the board to get the right man who will improve significantly on these last two seasons, and it's not going to be easy improving on two successive mediocre seasons especially when you glance how quickly stable clubs like Southampton, West Ham and Leicester have left us behind.

We have to hope the board get this right, massive massive summer on the horizon.

Terry Underwood
10 Posted 16/05/2016 at 08:08:24
It was "only" Norwich, but the kids did well, they will learn a huge amount from playing alongside the likes of Barry and Jags. The future is bright, the future is blue, well, something like that.
Phil Walling
11 Posted 16/05/2016 at 08:48:06
Thanks, Ken, for all your reports over this 'best forgotten' season. Good to draw the curtain on it with more than a chink of light showing and we can only hope a measure of wisdom will be applied to the task of recruiting the next manager.

Time now for a period of quiet reflection.

Mike Hughes
12 Posted 16/05/2016 at 09:04:22
A nice article - I always enjoy Ken's reports.

When RM was sacked, my first post on that thread expressed relief at his departure. It seems it was the same for many.

The enthusiasm and passion are also back - draining that away was the major crime of RM's tenure.

As Laurie posts (above) it doesn't take much to make us happy.

New youthful talent, new owner, new manager on the way. Those who don't want to stay don't matter. Exciting times ahead.

Come on you Blues.

Thomas Lennon
13 Posted 16/05/2016 at 09:11:23
Looks like the Walton Park move is off - back to the drawing board on that one as well
Tony Abrahams
14 Posted 16/05/2016 at 09:21:19
Quiet reflection? Some of us might just be in for the week from hell.

The other crowd might win a cup this week, and then it's the FA Cup final, next Saturday. If Everton's board could have found just the slightest bit of wisdom, we might have been looking forward to Wembley ourselves.

Think about the people you have left behind Phil, at least it's normal to go and break a few plates where you live!

Ian Smitham
15 Posted 16/05/2016 at 09:23:04
"Former Manager"- Love it!! Thanks for the Reports throughout and long may they continue.
Tony Draper
16 Posted 16/05/2016 at 09:30:19
Ken, thanks for your (always original) reports. Always loaded with feeling, passion and accurately depicting our trip to the match.

At the moment, I'm scared to death, but I pray by "The Holy Trinity" that by the time you and your mates return to "The Room of Nonsense", that we have someone in charge that has ALL the EPL saying "Oh Hell ! Everton are back !".

Thanks, take care, and enjoy the hire n fire window.

Stephen Toy
17 Posted 16/05/2016 at 09:48:14
Great to see the youngsters getting a proper run out, rather than the usual couple of minutes at the end of the game.
Rob Sawyer
18 Posted 16/05/2016 at 09:49:34
Ken, thank you for providing an essential element of TW throughout the season. Your balanced and perceptive insights, from a fan's perspective, of games that I do not get to are invaluable. I look forward to you being able to report on more upbeat proceedings from August onwards.
Gerard Carey
19 Posted 16/05/2016 at 10:07:13
Thanks Ken, great report as usual. Was just thinking when the new manager is appointed, Everton will have its third manager in a little over three years. It is going to be so important to get in the right man. What a difference a few days make, a smile on everyone's face. Early days, but something to look forward to again.
Dick Fearon
20 Posted 16/05/2016 at 10:21:40
Cheers Ken and thanks. Our four main contributors, Lyndon, Michael, Paul and yourself have almost become like family to me. We Twebbers are fortunate to have you on board.
From total dismay at the direction we were heading I sense a renewal of hope helped in no small part by those little rays of sunshine, Pennington, Dowell, Kenny and Davies.
I add my fond farewell to The big yank.
Dave Brierley
21 Posted 16/05/2016 at 11:54:42
Thanks for all the reports Ken. If I can't get to the game you're the next best thing. All in all Sunday was about as good as it can get after such a really disappointing season.

Michael #1 Are you related to Chris or Terry Colville who lived in Arlescourt road? I used to live in in Alfriston Road and knew both of them.

Barry Pearce
22 Posted 16/05/2016 at 12:46:30
Thanks ken. Love your reports really look forward to them.
Always reflect the game in a measured way good or bad.

Have a great summer.

Dave Abrahams
23 Posted 16/05/2016 at 13:15:12
Thanks Ken for your reports over the season, it was a very poor season which ended well and hopefully will carry on the same way next season.

Have a good close season and get your fingers ready for a really great trophy winning season starting in August.

Brendan Fitzgerald
24 Posted 16/05/2016 at 13:43:42
I would just like to echo previous comments Ken, I have really enjoyed your take on the matches.

It has been a hard season to endure for us Evertonians even those who don't get to see the matches so I can only imagine the frustation at watching. Having said that reading the reports has been cathartic and a necessary balance to the utterances of our former manager.

Hope the young guys get their chance next season as energy and enthusiasm is just what the team and club needs.

Jason Murray
25 Posted 16/05/2016 at 14:01:27
Thank you Ken for all your reports throughout the season - terrifically well written and always entertaining (even when we've lost!)

I too had Davies as my Man of The Match, a great all round performance from the young man. I was particularly impressed when he dropped into centre back to briefly cover when Stones made one of his forays forward in the second half. Great awareness shown there I thought.

Dowell and Kenny also deserve honourable mentions as they were both excellent aswell. A real breath of fresh air after this most miserable of seasons.

I'm positive that we'll be back August ready to tear up the league and show everyone that Everton are a club to fear once more!

Rahman Talib
26 Posted 16/05/2016 at 16:28:49
For my money, it's either the Old Spanish Waiter or David Moyes. Only these two guys know how Scousers play football.

The rest of them are overrated and would try to get Everton to play the European way. Martinez tried that and failed. Everton is not a team for tippy-tappy football.

Rahman Talib
27 Posted 16/05/2016 at 16:30:49
Also, time to get rid of Barkley.

We can make do with McAleny, Dowell and Davies.

Let's make some serious money from the Barkley dude...

Danny Broderick
28 Posted 16/05/2016 at 18:04:28
Many thanks Ken.
Peter Mills
29 Posted 16/05/2016 at 20:32:56
Thank you Ken.
Stephen Brown
30 Posted 16/05/2016 at 20:44:06
Thanks Ken and thanks to Paul, Michael and Lyndon for outstanding match reports, win lose or draw all season!
David Edwards
31 Posted 16/05/2016 at 22:46:54
Thank you for your reports - have a great summer, Ken!
John Aldridge
32 Posted 16/05/2016 at 23:26:35
Thanks Ken. Goodison was like a completely different place yesterday - you could feel the doom and gloom dissipating and the place was positively upbeat once the first goal had gone in. A totally different Everton and not once did my heart enter my mouth - a common occurrence this season. Over the moon with the young'uns - Davies in particular was a bag of energy. Can now look forward to whoever is brought in and to next season with positivity. A good day out at the Old Lady, it's been a miserable experience up to this point. Amazing the difference removing one man from the equation can make. Onwards and upwards!

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